« January 2008 | Main | March 2008 »

February 28, 2008

EL 336 - Portfolio 1- Oral culture to the Manuscript- Opinions on the change of Book Technology

This is my blog portfolio 1 for the class EL 336 History and Future of the Book. Int his class we look at the history of the book starting from oral culture to the inroduction of the manuscript and printing press all the way to the digital age and how it has affected book culture. This portfolio is one made up of my blogs from the class. It is a kind of online discussion that the classmates do with eachother about the different readings. It is a way to get our opinions to eachother in a digital way that anyone can see.

In the semester this far, I have learned that the new technology of the manuscript from oral culture causes both the reader and writer to have varying opinions on what is the better technology.

( most of my blogs lie under this category but here are a few)

Ong - Writing is a Technology

Trithimeus - In Praise of Scribes

Cicero/ Tiro

( if you want to get technical about it, all my blogs are posted in a timely matter butI won't bore you)



Homer and Sundiata



( usually no one likes to comment on mine, but here are some times I got some good comments)

Muse Learns to Write Chp. 5 - best comments I ever had





McLuhan pg 1- 90




David Cristello's - Elbow blog

Kayla Sawyer's - Einstein blog

Leslies Rodriguez's DiRenzo blog

Jeremy Barrick's Homer/Sundiata blog

Posted by RachelPrichard at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2008

EL 336 McLuhan and the Alphabetic Culture

"Any society posessing the alphabet can translate any adjacent cultures into its alphabetic mode. But ths is a one way process. No non - alphabetic culture can take over an alphabetic one; because the alphabet cannot be assimilated, it can onlty liquidate or reduce." ( McLuhan pg 63)

This was a surprising point in The Gutenberg Galaxy. While I would like to think that a non alphabetic culture (oral culture) can dominate, I really do not think it could. Yes, there are important aspects of non alphabetic culture, as i stated in my ex 2 essay the radio news culture is one of them. When I think about my own personal experiences with the alphabet ( wow that sounds funny) I can relate to the alphabet taking over a non oral culture. Since this course is having us look at those experiences, I look to my dabbling in American Sign Language. Gotta love that Seton Hill language credit eh? While the culture of the deaf is not oral in the way, people with hearing think of oral; it does take on it's own alphabet and sentence structuring system. Of course, as in hearing culture, the first hing you must learn to sign is the alphabet. You go from there with learning spelling, words, and forming sentences in manuscript form. The hearing societies alphabet has been tweeked in some ways to adhere to the deaf and then made into their own language. Here is where I see McLuhans theory may be correct. The alphabetic culture in this case has only furthered another culture. Could it have been vice versa?

Posted by RachelPrichard at 5:32 PM | Comments (1)

February 20, 2008

EL 336 - Format

"But further reflection suggests that the thoughts of readers are guided by the way the contents of books are arranged and presented. Basic changes in book format might well lead to changes in thought patterns." (pg 133)

As students when we open a book to read and see giant paragraphs of little print, we probably groan. that is because the format of the book is not fitting to our needs. I know in my own experience of writing for the Setonian ( which i am unable to do this semester sadly : ( ) The format of the crime blotterhas changed and has changed my feeling about it, but only for a bit. I know people are still reading it and that is the most important thing. Even if you pick up your favorite magazine and you go to your favorite section and find that because of ad space, it has been moved to the last page, it may take away a sense of security. When the people began printing words with illustration in books, I'm sure it got a an odd response from readers too. That is the beauty of print, you can change the format of the piece of work, but it will not change the contents. It will however affect the readers feelings, at least for a little. they will eventually work through it and find the true meaning of the writing, which is the goal of print anyway.

Posted by RachelPrichard at 12:10 PM | Comments (3)

El 336 - Books as history

"The function of the Library of Congress (and perhaps most libraries in general) will change. He envisions his library becoming more liek a museum: 'Just as you to the National Gallery to see its Leonardo or go to the Smithsonian to see the Spirit of St. Louis and so on, you will want to go to libraries to see the Gutenberg or the original printing of Shakespeare's plays or to see Lincolns hand written version of the Gettysburg Address.' " (pg 68)

Do we as children of technology already see libraries as Zich foresees them? To me the feel of this home of books is just that of a museum. A cold, quiet place where these artifacts of books and the dewey decimal system still lurk. But is society really ever going to consider books as pieces of history? Whenever I was handed a book in high school to read in my last two years, I remember it being old and beat up, pages torn and bent. Even then it felt as though books may have been beginning to die. Though if you look at the idea of something so common becomeing something of the past, shouldn't we be inclinded to save and cherish it. People still keep around original copies of some of the most famous works from authors and even the Bible. If books are to be history then we will salvage and care for them in such a way just like the Mona Lisa.

Posted by RachelPrichard at 11:54 AM | Comments (2)

February 18, 2008

EL 336 - Trithemius

No labor is more profitable than his eminent work. Whoever may want more information on this subject should read the book by Johannes Gerson, chancellor of the University of Paris, De laude scriptorum. There can be found in abundant detail the above mentioned benefits and advantages of the art of copying and a multitude of collected arguments in praise of the good scribe. No other manual labor is more suitable for us than copying." (Trithemius pg 472)

Profitable, I think not. At least if you are not published as a writer. Important, yes! I mean look at the writer's strike in hollywood that just ended. Writer's have always been one of the strongest pieces of human society. There wouldn't be famous journalists or authors if it weren't for people like Trithemius. Scribes and monks who wrote dictated words. I wish the public felt the same amount of respect that they used to for writers. Even the writers who write the instructions to your kitchen dishwasher. Writing anything that anyone reads down should not be taken forgranted.

Posted by RachelPrichard at 10:14 PM | Comments (1)

EL 336 - Legible and that's that

"Palmer's method eschewed the "pretty" writing of the Spencerian school in favor of a more practical hand. Palmer advocated "real, live, usable, legible, and salable penmanship." (Baron pg 59)

Finding out that handwriting was such a big part of writing at one point in history was surprising. I knew that the lower class were some of the last people to learn to write, but it isn interesting to know that they probably still had better handwriting then me. As someone with handwriting that has been described as "chicken scratch," I sometimes wonder if other writers get judged like I do. Learning that there was a scholar on penmanship who did not go for the smae kind of lovley and artsy handwriting, but wanted it to be legible and practical. I feel the same way. Why should I try to teach myself how to write all over again? To please the eyes of some stranger, I think not. With the beauty of the computer, I really do not have to deal with that judgment these days, but it does bring up bad memories from gradeschool and high school still.

Posted by RachelPrichard at 9:49 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2008

336 - Elbow

Agenda Item - Page 151 - the three images Elbow uses to match his three claims.

I highly enjoyed how Elbow concluded his article. The three ways he showed this writer and how she attacks her writing, really show that parts of forming oral speech continue into the writing process. I agree with Elbow that the argument speech vs. text should be changed. It should be changed to what can we do with speech and writing in different ways. Though there were valid differences and similarities spotted in this artilce, I think that the argument of which is more promenant to society is overdonw. Im sick of it. Is there anything else we can do as writers, to change up either field? If one leads to another over and over again, there has got to be a way to change the cycle. This reading was a refreshing change to the old school outlook on this subject.

Posted by RachelPrichard at 4:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 6, 2008

EL 336 - WM - are we foolproof?

"I agree with his statement that you can't design foolproof machines, because fools are so clever." (pg 385)

I find that even thoough oral speech has advanced to printed technology, it is not any better than it was 10000 years ago. Just because we have advanced the ways to show what we want to say, are we now getting the most important topics out? Look at all the horrible things ont he internet. A tool that was supposed to advance us has probably put more focus into sex, crime, the worship of celebrities, more than get the important issues out there. Sticking feathers up your but does not make you a chicken.

Posted by RachelPrichard at 1:41 PM | Comments (1)

El 336 - Havelock - Chp 9

Inscribed on parchment or papyrus, the new writings contain the first texts of what we call great literature- but which the Greeks of the time naturally regarded as a continuation of that oral practice which was expected incidentally to proved didactic guidance for their culture." (pg 88)

I find this passage ironic because the Greeks did not know that what they were doing was going to effect history. They thought that printing on parchment was just going to continue their tradition of oral culture, not upgrade it. It is funny how things work out, yet it makes me wonder. What if our age of technology, the internet, blogs, online newspapers, etc is just a continuation to something more groundbreaking. As far as anyone is concerned the internet is just another upgrading of oral communication. When it comes to print/ oral communication becoming more advanced, it seem like both keep up at a pretty even pace in our society today and will probably keep that way.

Posted by RachelPrichard at 12:43 AM | Comments (1)

February 4, 2008

EL 336 - Muse - chp 5. cross cultural collisions

"Were they "savage" on the one hand, and yet "noble" on the other, possesers of an ethical simplicity, a direct feeling, which Europeans had lost? And, lurking behind these, questions, barely recognized, lay another question. Were they literatre or not literate? Could they read and write? If not, what comparative value does this negative fact place on writing, in the history of our species, what positive value on its absence?"

With the discovery of America and the colonizing of it in early times, writing and reading was already a staple for modern American society. It is interesting that people who did not have the ability to read and write were concsidered less valuable. They were even considered not normal humans. How would someone like Socrates say to that? Since you do not participate in what written and print is in the world, you do not count in it. I think it really does place a negative outlook on print culture.

Posted by RachelPrichard at 12:31 AM | Comments (5)

EL 336 - Homer and Sundiata

I do not have a specific quote to use for either of these writings. I found it surprisingly interesting that two texts performed/ written have such similarites. Sundiata's first version to me is much like Eagles version of the Illiad. I found the later versions that were more like a relateable book, easier to understand and follow. Something about their style of really speaking through a literature is easier for me to get. Performance sounding things like the 2nd version of Sundiata or the Lattimore version of the Illiad would not speak to me any differntly if I would have been right there at a performance.. Even reading the performance pieces versions speaks to me in a different form of writing then an actual story version does. It rubs me the wrong way, but does get to see how changes made, even if small, to a story that was both oral and print can effect the reader/listener.

Posted by RachelPrichard at 12:08 AM | Comments (2)